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Finagle’s Law: A Writer’s Guide

Finagle's Law

Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes that bad day stretches into a bad week, or a bad month, if you’re really struggling. Usually, that’s not fun for any parties involved. However, if you’re an external observer, and the action is taking place in a book or movie, disaster can be the whole reason you’re paying any attention. If disaster is inevitable, it’s because of a concept called Finagle’s Law.

What Stieg Larsson Got Wrong, A Writer Talks

Steig Larsson author of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

A couple of years ago, I read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. You know, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Well, truthfully, I didn’t exactly read the trilogy. I read the first two books and ditched the third after about fifty pages. In this post, let’s talk about what that third book got so wrong.

Negative Capability: Definition and Examples

negative capability

I have always had a thirst for knowledge and understanding. I read encyclopedias for fun in the 4th grade, and I dominate at trivia to this day. This doesn’t always work well in the writing world. Have you ever seen Lost? I’m about halfway through season three. When I first started watching the show, a friend of mine told me to expect to have a lot of my questions to be unanswered. That advice has made the viewing experience much more enjoyable because I’m not spending half of the episode trying to figure out and reason through what’s going on.

John Keats understood this artistic choice to live in the tension of mystery, and in a letter to his brothers, he gave it a name: negative capability.

Euphony and Cacophony: A Writer’s Guide

I love words. A lot of us get into writing because we love words. We love words strung together in sentences; we love that those sentences blend to form an amazing story that we immerse ourselves in. Sometimes it’s just the sound of the word that enraptures us, or maybe it’s two words put together that, when combined, are the epitome of sonic euphoria. When that happens, we experience euphony.



I have a soft spot for sarcasm. This is probably no surprise to anyone who has been following the Write Practice since the early days, but I often say that the primary love language of my family is sarcasm. It’s nothing too cutting; we understand where the line between sarcastic and downright hurtful is. This is probably why I love the word “snark” as much as I do. Fun fact: snark is a portmanteau of “snide remark”, which is one hundred percent the best definition of snark.

Storyboard Your Novel

My sister is in San Francisco this week, scouting the area, making connections, and hopefully moving in the next few months. My parents and I have shared that we would be very surprised if she was still in Pittsburgh come Halloween. She’s been to the Bay area a few times and has loved it, and [...]

Love Quadrilaterals and Other Polygons

Love Polygons

My friends and I were hanging out over the long weekend, and somehow we got started quoting Love Actually. I love that movie, and it’s probably one of my favorite holiday films, but I was thinking today of why I liked it so much. I finally decided that it’s because it tells so many different love stories and makes you care about every one of the characters involved. It can definitely be a challenge to keep up with all the intertwined relationships, but you get the gist of them pretty quickly.

The Case Against Twilight

the case against twilight

I’m just going to say it. Stephenie Meyer is not a good writer. Cue the defensive comments below.

I’m not talking about her storytelling. Like I said, I haven’t read the books. I don’t know how Stephenie (good lord, all those e’s) puts together her paragraphs to form a cohesive narrative. I’ve only read excerpts. But you know what? You don’t need to know the storyline to critique poor sentence structure.

Here are my three arguments against Twilight.

How to Write Love Triangles from an Omniscient Perspective

Love Triangles

Ahhh, the love triangle. Stephenie Meyer’s favorite plot device. When you’re writing a love triangle from a first person or third person limited perspective, it’s hard to write a lot of multi-directional triangles. However, writing from a third-person omniscient perspective gives you the freedom to explore the other two prongs of the love triangle.

The Love Triangle

the love triangle

Sunday was one of those rare days in Denver where it rained all day long, which completely justified my decision to lay on the couch, order takeout, and watch Netflix all day. My roommate and I finished the evening with a viewing of I Love You, Man, which I had never seen and am so glad I watched. Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are America’s boyfriends.

The main three relationships of the movie are a twist on a classic rom-com trope called the love triangle, with Paul Rudd trying to become friends with Jason Segel while planning his wedding to Rashida Jones. It’s highly entertaining, but it made me think about other plays on the classic three-character relationship models.